The Cardinals finally managed to pick up their premier middle of the order bat in the form of first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. It seems that the celebration given to him from the fans has already faded as the Winter Meetings get underway. They are ready for what is to come. Goldschmidt was a start (a very good start), but what else do the Cardinals plan to do?
If you are in tune with the Cardinals, you’ll notice that apparently they will be “out” of the Bryce Harper sweepstakes. I don’t buy it. Reports have begun to come out that the length of the contract might be a deal breaker for the Cardinals. My thought process is this: If you’re willing to take on Stanton, you should be willing to take on Harper. I understand the Cardinals do want to look at an extension with Goldschmidt, but with the amount of money the Cardinals bring in, I don’t see why they cannot do both.
As you can see from the tweet above from Jen Langosch, the Cardinals seem to be shifting towards a bullpen improvement. Now the Cardinals have been linked to a couple different solid lefties in the free agent market (Britton, Miller), but do either of those guys make sense for the Cardinals? Absolutely. All you need to do is look at how the bullpen performed last year and compare those two names. It’s a pretty obvious upgrade.
Free agency may not be the only way for the Cardinals to get a quality reliever. With the addition of Paul Goldschmidt, Jedd Gyorko and Jose Martinez are suddenly expendable. Martinez will likely not get any reps at first base over Goldschmidt, while also being pressed for playing time in right field along with Dexter Fowler and Tyler O’Neill. If the Cardinals end up getting a Bryce Harper, that makes it even more difficult for Jose. He has been linked in trade rumors regarding the Tampa Bay Rays and they do have an interesting young lefty that could benefit the Cardinals greatly.
Meet Jose Alvarado. He’s 23 years old and was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Alvarado could been a huge addition for the Cardinals bullpen. Through two seasons in the Majors, Alvarado has a 2.79 ERA along with a 2.36 FIP. Something tells me that he is pretty good. His walk rate could improve but he does strike out 10.5 batters per 9 innings. He isn’t eligible for free agency until 2024, which might make the Rays hesitant to move him, but Martinez is under contract until 2023. If the Cardinals packaged Martinez along with a low or mid-level prospect, I think this deal gets done during the meetings.
Moving back to Gyorko, I’m not entirely sure what the market will be for him. The Cardinals may move him simply because he isn’t left handed and they want a lefty to bring into a game late. Mike Moustakas and Daniel Descalso are names that have been floated around along with Derek Dietrich. I don’t see Moustakas being a good fit simply because Carpenter will be playing full time and I don’t see Moose accepting a bench role. Descalso and Dietrich would be better suited for a left handed utility role. The Winter Meetings will be a good time to see where the market could be for Gyorko and what kind of return we could get.
I understand the fans when it comes to Bryce Harper. He makes a lot of sense for the club in the long term and the short term. If you have a lineup that consists of Carpenter, Goldschmidt, Harper, Ozuna, and DeJong, you have a chance for 5 guys with 30 or more home runs. That would be a sight to see. However, we must be patient. Boras is the type of agent that will wait this out. Don’t expect Harper to sign unless there is a deal in place worth a ridiculous amount of money (looking at you Philly).
The Cardinals have work to do, but don’t let the Winter Meetings make us stray from the fact that we got Paul Goldschmidt. He’s one of the best players in baseball and this team is better because of him. Let’s have fun during the Meetings. Let’s get some deals done.
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